15 Asian American and Pacific Islander Podcasts You Need to Listen To
From comedy to cooking, these Asian American and Pacific Islander podcasts give voice to authentic stories that go beyond the headlines.
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An Asian American podcast for every listener
You’ve read the headlines: The pandemic has compounded the already wide wealth gap among Asian Americans and given rise to long-simmering anti-Asian sentiment. Asian American–owned businesses are vandalized, and our elders are attacked. To give voice to authentic Asian American stories that go beyond statistics and headlines, we have compiled a list of must-listen Asian American podcasts. Some of them are podcasts about race, and some are conversations with amazing Asian Americans, but most of them chronicle everyday experiences of ordinary Americans.
Asian Americans are part of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. With more than 50 ethnicities speaking almost 100 languages, AAPI is far from a monolith. People of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander heritage are all considered AAPI, and we hope to reflect this diversity through our selection of podcasts. These are some of the best podcasts brought to you by AAPI creators, from journalists in Los Angeles to activists in Hawaii.
Once you’ve added an Asian American podcast (or two) to your rotation, continue to support the AAPI community by adding these Asian American books to your reading list and stay informed by learning about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month facts.
Ivy Le has never been camping. In this podcast, she talks to friends and experts about how to prepare for her first adventure in the wild. Le is funny and self-deprecating, and FOGO (short for “fear of going outside”) is an irreverent look at camping culture and how it relates to Asian American identities. For more content that will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, check out these motivational podcasts.
While working on a project in Los Angeles’ Filipinotown, journalist Paola Mardo saw a need for more stories about the Filipino American diaspora. Drawing from her experience as a reporter and her work in the film industry, Mardo started a platform to put her community front and center. In addition to the podcast, Long Distance also includes a video series. With vivid storytelling and music, this engaging podcast is great for road trips.
Book Friends Forever
Cohosts Alvina Ling and Grace Lin are childhood friends who grew up to become professional book lovers. (Ling is a children’s book editor, and Lin is an author and illustrator.) In this biweekly podcast, the two chat about everything from diversity in publishing, money, and careers to their love of soup dumplings. The easy rapport between them makes this Asian American podcast irresistible. If you like podcasts about publishing and fiction podcasts, Book Friends Forever will be right up your alley.
Legends from the Pacific
Hosted by self-proclaimed “Asian Pacific Islander geek” Kamuela Kaneshiro, Legends from the Pacific features folktales and ghost stories from all across the Pacific Ocean. Learn about shapeshifting vampires from the Philippines, the Goddess of Bats from Samoa, and the monsters and demons of Chinese New Year. If you’re into scary podcasts, you’ll enjoy Kaneshiro’s well-researched and entertaining tales.
Root Cause Remedies
This podcast about environmental justice is led by an all-female team based in Hawaii. Host Tina G. has a background in Indigenous Politics, and every episode focuses on a topic related to the environment that will galvanize and enlighten listeners. On a mission to effect change through grassroots storytelling, Root Cause Remedies is a perfect listen for anyone interested in understanding how to be an ally to indigenous communities in Hawaii.
All the Asians on Star Trek
Korean American writer Phil Yu is known for his blog Angry Asian Man, a must-read for anyone looking to combat anti-Asian racism. An avid Star Trek fan, Yu talks to every Asian actor who’s appeared in the sci-fi franchise, from Rosalind Chao to Eugene Cordero. He also goes on “away missions” with guests to have in-depth conversations about a select episode. Yu is a skilled interviewer, and the conversations are funny and insightful, making All the Asians on Star Trek an Asian American podcast you can’t miss.
King of the World
Hosted by Shahjehan Khan and produced by Rifelion Media, this seven-part podcast follows Khan—who came of age as a Pakistani Muslim teen in the United States—and the broader treatment of the Muslim community in America post-9/11. Transporting listeners from the suburbs of Boston to the Pakistani city of Lahore, Khan’s story is one for fans of history podcasts and storytelling podcasts alike.
Made by and for Pacific Islanders, Deep Pacific is a platform for community building and storytelling. Host Kalåni Reyes is a millennial woman based in Guam, and she opens every episode with a quote from an indigenous Pacifica person. For listeners who are not Pacific Islanders, Reyes recommends starting with the episodes on decolonization, the land back movement, and settler colonialism. See our recommendations for more political podcasts to keep you informed.
Yo, Is This Racist?
Hosts Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome determine if something is racist every week in this hilarious blog-turned-podcast. Ti is a TV writer, while Newsome appears in Netflix’s Space Force and Star Trek: Lower Decks. The conversation between them is effortlessly entertaining as they navigate listener-submitted questions along with special guests. Not only will this comedy podcast make you laugh out loud, but it’ll keep you informed too.
Girl Meets Farm
Food Network star Molly Yeh records from her home in Minnesota, where she whips up recipes inspired by her Jewish and Chinese heritage, like congee with Chinese crullers and baked challah French toast. Yeh is a charming host, and this podcast will both make you drool and inspire you to step into the kitchen. Ready to hit the “subscribe” button? Learn all the ways you can listen to podcasts for free.
An Asian American podcast focused on community-driven storytelling, Self Evident is hosted by Cathy Erway. The show goes beyond the issues of identity and representation and instead illuminates the joy and heartbreak in the lives of everyday Asian Americans. In the words of an enthusiastic listener, “It’s about time we had a show dedicated to Asian Americans who aren’t celebrities.”
Part of the Asian American–centric Potluck Podcast Collective, Saturday School is engaging and informative. Named after the Saturday language lessons many Asian Americans attend as kids, the podcast covers Asian American representation in pop culture, from comedy movies and musical films to Asian movies about Asian Americans specifically and how Asian Americans are perceived in Asia. Brian Hu and Ada Tseng are the hosts, and the podcast has eight seasons so far.
Four journalists talk to prominent Asian Americans in this podcast produced by the L.A. Times. The guest list is a who’s who of Asian American celebrities, from actors like John Cho and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan to writers including Viet Thanh Nguyen and Min Jin Lee. Hosts Jen Yamato, Johana Bhuiyan, Tracy Brown, and Suhauna Hussain offer diverse perspectives on what it means to be Asian American today, making this popular Asian American podcast a celebration as well as an opportunity for introspection.
Add to Cart
In the crowded field of beauty and wellness podcasts, Add to Cart stands out for its cohosts—who are both Asian American women—and their fresh takes on how the things we buy come to define us. Every week, comedian and writer Kulap Vilaysack and journalist SuChin Pak gab about the items they’re adding to their shopping carts, from toilet brushes to makeup, and whether they’re worth the monetary and emotional investments. Vilaysack and Pak are often joined by celebrity guests, who also talk about their favorite purchases. If you’re in the market for more outstanding content, check out our list of the best podcasts on Spotify.
Southern Fried Asian
After realizing that most Asian American stories focus on those based in Los Angeles, New York, or the Bay Area, host Keith Chow set out to answer the question, “What does it mean to be Asian American in the South?” Every week, Chow talks with notable Asian Americans about their experiences growing up and living in the South. Past guests include actress Michelle Krusiec, young adult author Jenny Han, and New Yorker staffer Jia Tolentino.
- McKinsey and Company: “COVID-19 and advancing Asian American recovery”